Politicians Meddle in UNICEF Dime

LC2 and LC3 chair persons in Kyejonjo district are meddling in the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment-SAGE project. The project  that is worth 152 billion shillings is funded by the DFID, Irish Aid and UNICEF. The project is for people above 65 years most of whom are disabled, chronically ill, and widowed. Each beneficiary is expected to receive shillings 25,000 each month for their upkeep. However, in Kyejonjo the project is being abused by LC2 and LC3 chairpersons, who are registering their relatives below 65 years leaving out the genuine beneficiaries. More than eighty elders haven’t been registered despite meeting all the requirements.A 69-year-old  called David Amanyiire who is a resident of Kisenge parish in Kihuura Sub County says he has never been registered despite submitting a recommendation letter from his LC1 chairperson. He says that since  program started two years ago, he has tried to have his name registered but all was in vain. Amanyiire says that he has been turned away several times, even when he shows them his birth certificates. 71-year-old Francis Mugisa has similar complaints. Mugisa says since the program started he has never received payment.

He says that despite the fact that the money appears too little to sustain his cost of livening, it would help him access basic necessities for his family.  Mugisa suspects  that beneficiaries could be paying the price for refusing to support some local leaders in the 2011 general elections. He wants the registration of the beneficiaries of the program to be done by the district community development department. How ever Steven Bagonza, the LC2 Chairperson Kisenge parish denies interfering in the programme.

He says that some of the elders haven’t been registered because they gave conflicting information about their age. Twooli Yafesi, the head of the community development department, which is managing the programme, admits there are irregularities in the programme engineered by politicians. Yafesi says that the department will carry out fresh registration of genuine beneficiaries in the district before the end of this month. He however says that some of the elderly persons weren’t registered because they withheld vital information like their age.

Since its inception two years, the SAGE project has faced some challenges which include delayed release of money to the beneficiaries. Yafesi says that they plan to establish payment centers at parish headquarters to bring the service closer to the beneficiaries.

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